An interesting question, Charles. My view is probably not – but not necessarily for the reasons of Trades Unions or poor industrial relations at the shop floor level. It wasn’t really until the mid / late 1970’s that Japanese quality systems and production methods were being widely accepted in the West as beneficial, and certainly if we look back to the early 1960’s “Made in Japan” was not accepted as the quality benchmark that we’re used to today. Remember also that while Nissan and Toyota have a longer car manufacturing history, Honda didn’t build their first car until the mid 1960’s. It’s unlikely therefore that they would have been able to offer an alternative style of manufacturing management that was seen as credible in the UK at that time. A fundamental obstacle to adopting a quality-centric approach to manufacturing in the UK was the erroneous belief amongst senior managers that it would increase costs, whereas the Japanese have long understood that the opposite is true. A good example of this came from a friend of mine who held a senior position within Pressed Steel Fisher (PS-F) and who did a great deal of work with Honda in the early days of the Rover / Honda collaboration. He argued strongly that PS-F should be investing in tooling for single piece body side pressings (as used by all volume car bodyshells today) and welded door hinges rather than perpetuating the multi-piece fabrication that had been the norm for their bodyshells for years. The reason for using single piece pressings is that it makes possible much closer tolerances leading to greatly simplified assembly and absolute repeatability – both key elements in achieving a quality product. This met massive resistance from other senior people in the organisation (i.e. at Director level), partly due to the high tooling capital cost, but also because they claimed that it wasn’t possible to do. Yet my friend had witnessed exactly this manufacturing technique in Honda’s own production facilities so it patently was not just possible, but there was also good information as to the benefits of the technique as well. There’s nothing quite so effective as blind ignorance at the top of a company to orchestrate its demise. Japan and Germany are rightly lauded for their transition after the Second World War into strong manufacturing economies. It’s no accident in my view that both countries recognise Engineers as high-status professionals within their respective societies, nor that both have a significantly different funding model for their capitally intensive businesses (i.e. most manufacturers) that focusses on long term objectives rather than short term financial performance. Neither of those attributes characterise the climate in which UK manufacturing operates. The irony in all this is that the person who taught the Japanese the importance of quality to the success of manufacturing was actually an American whose methods were largely ignored by western manufacturers until the last few years of his life: W. Edwards Deming.